Exploring the Opportunities of the National Estuary Program Coastal Watershed Grant | Capitol Beach
Funding for estuary projects and more.
On The Capitol Beach, Derek Brockbank discusses a new(ish) federal grant program to fund local coastal restoration initiatives. Suzanne Simon, with Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE), talks about the National Estuaries Program Coastal Watershed Grant (NEP-CWG), including some of the projects funded in 2020 and the process for applying in 2021. They are currently accepting Letters of Intent for 2021 funds through June 7th. Suzanne also explains what the National Estuaries Program is, why it’s run by EPA, and the purpose and range of this grant program. This discussion builds on previous podcasts on the National Coastal Resilience Fund from NFWF and the National Coastal Wetlands Grants from the USFWS.
Derek Brockbank 0:08
Welcome to the Capitol beach. My name is Derek brockbank. And I'm your host for the Capitol beach where we talk about policy and decision making and funding from our nation's capital that help coastal coastal communities and coastal areas. I'm the executive director of coastal states organization. For those of you that have been listening for a while, that might sound a little bit odd. It's a little bit odd for me to say I recently started at coastal states having been with the American shore and beach preservation Association for six years. But I'm delighted today to be talking to a friend and colleague who I've worked with for a number of years both with it with ASPCA and and now with coastal states. Suzanne Simon with restore America's estuaries, we're going to be talking about a relatively new grant program or at least new for restore America's estuaries, the coastal watersheds grants, sort of part of the ongoing discussions we've had about federal funding to help coastal coastal communities and coastal restoration. So really excited to be talking with Suzanne today. But first, a quick word from our sponsors.
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Derek Brockbank 2:52
Okay, well thank you so much for sponsors. And thank you so much to us, Suzanne, it's great to talk to you. I'm sorry, we can't do this in person. But we continue to operate on COVID and glad to be talking to you over the internet.
Suzanne Simon 3:02
Yeah, likewise. And thank you for having me and congratulations on your new role.
Derek Brockbank 3:06
Well, thank you I'm excited about it and look forward to continuing to collaborate with restore America's estuaries. For those that maybe don't know, I think raise a fan ray is the acronym ra e restore America's estuaries, we may refer to it as such. It's a great organization. But for those folk listeners that might not know it too. Well. Can you give us a quick overview of, of Rei and then what you do there?
Suzanne Simon 3:28
Great. Thanks. Yeah, so ray is a National Alliance of 10 coastal conservation groups dedicated to restoring and preserving America's estuaries and coasts as essential resources for our nation. So basically, we work with our member groups and to provide a national voice on restoration and coastal issues. And in terms of what I do, I've had many hats. My training formerly is as a is a marine and estuarine science. I started out as a ocean at an oceanographic consulting firm up in Seattle, and then made my way back to the east coast where I'm originally from, and did some advocacy work in in DC, and ended up as the first national policy and science director for a way back in the day. And then, so life, life has its ways of meandering around and then so I left and took a little bit of break from the DC scene and then I came back in 2009 in a very different role. So I lead the living shorelines program for a while and now as it as it happened, restore America's estuaries, Ray was able to successfully compete for the NEP coastal watersheds grant program, which we're going to talk about a little bit more. And with that, I became the administrator of that program. So the coastal watersheds grant is a funding source from EPA the US Environmental Protection Agency And restore America's estuaries, administers that in coordination and with funding from EPA.
Derek Brockbank 5:06
Great. Well, that was a full recap. I've always, I guess I started to know you. In that time we were working on living shorelines, we sort of thought of you as the living shorelines guru. And you mentioned that was 2009. I mean, living shorelines are such a buzzword. Now. I mean, you can't talk about the coasts without talking about living shorelines. But you know, even just what was that 12 years ago, there were still a little bit of a new concept. And I think, or at least a new terminology, people weren't talking about as much. So I really give a lot of credit to restore America's estuaries for helping drive that conversation. And to you for doing that.
Suzanne Simon 5:37
I also would give credit to our member groups too, because it was honestly a bit of an organic process, where we saw them starting to use these techniques in their restoration programs. And it kind of bubbled up because Ray often serves as a, as a collector of sorts of some of these ideas, because we were a national group that that's in close communication with our member groups. So it was sort of kind of bubbled up naturally. And and I'm delighted to see that that it is being really championed and implemented around the country in so many interesting and novel ways. Particularly I think the exciting envelope is is in the higher energy environments.
Derek Brockbank 6:17
Yeah, and I'm hesitant to name any of your member groups for fear of leaving a couple out because they're all such good groups. But they're their local regional estuarine coastal groups. I've worked very closely with coalition restore coastal Louisiana back when I was doing Louisiana work, American liberal society which is up in New Jersey and works in the Mid Atlantic area. Galveston Bay foundation You know, they're they're all over the coast, most of the major premier estuaries and bays in the country. I think have one of have a member group that represent is represented as a collaborative partner for re so all doing really good work.
Suzanne Simon 6:51
Derek Brockbank 6:54
Okay, well, you were going to talk about the coastal watershed grants. You mentioned that this is a joint a collaborative effort of EPA, and restore America's estuaries and then you briefly threw in there the national estuary program. Maybe before we talk about the grant specifically, you could give a quick overview of what the national estuary program is that's run out of EPA, because there's a lot of different federal estuary, or at least there's a few different federal estuary programs out there, but there's only one that's sort of the official national national estuary and estuary program. Could you give a quick overview of that?
Suzanne Simon 7:26
Absolutely. So the national estuary program is a place based program as you already know that within the US Environmental Protection Agency, it has the goal of protecting and restoring the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance. Now, that's a particularly important term and there are currently 28 such estuaries located in the Atlantic Gulf and Pacific coasts and Puerto Rico. And so basically, wherever there has been one of these estuaries of national significance, there is a national estuary program located there. And I would EPA has a really great website that describes all of these 28 locations and I would certainly encourage folks to to learn more about that. And as as your question to the overlap there is so for example, NOAA has the National Estuarine Research reserves and and there occasionally is overlap but in a lot of cases, any any piece and that we call them the nears any rrs. They occur in different locations and and they have slightly different missions, as it were, they all tend to be placed based, though. But they they differ in sort of some of the nuances and what what they're tackling and and how they go about that.
Derek Brockbank 8:47
Thanks. And so this this grant program we're going to talk about today is funded, ultimately, you guys are running at at re but ultimately, it's funded through EPA, from federal dollars that Congress allocates to the national estuary program. And so all the grants, all the work that's being done under these grant programs need to fall within the boundaries of the NDP, can you talk a little bit about sort of how NDP boundaries what defines a, an asteroid of national significance? Where does that estuary begin and end?
Suzanne Simon 9:17
Right? So so there's that that's a really important nuance here. So the, the, the asteroids and national significance were designated by Congress. And again, if you if you want to map if you're a visual person, like I am, you can go to the EPA site to see that the geographic eligibility areas as it relates to this grant program, slightly kind of go upstream and downstream of those. So you might see the geographic eligibility areas do not exactly mimic the 28 areas of 20 estuaries of national significance, but they overlap them. In other words, there's a little bit more to it in terms of the terms of this program. But the 28 asteroids of national significance are all located within the geographic eligibility areas.
Derek Brockbank 10:07
Okay, so this program is going to be helping those estuaries even if the programs that specific project themselves might not fall directly within that estuary, it's going to be it's going to be benefiting the estuary.
Suzanne Simon 10:19
Exactly. And that's an important that's something else that's really important is that the any any project that is funded has to explicitly address one of one or more of the priority actions of what what's called a comprehensive conservation and management plan, that we're really getting a little in the weeds. But each of these NDP sites has to come up with a master plan, basically, in terms of what their priorities are, how they're going to tackle them. And any project funded under this grant program has to directly address one of those priorities within the nearby NDP, what we're starting to get into the grant program. So it probably won't make sense to really cover it. And also, just to point out from a timely perspective, this is an annual program. So it's something we could be talking about at any time. But it is it is a timely, a timely topic to be talking about. The letters of intent are due June 7. So
Derek Brockbank 11:15
if you're listening to this, and you're saying, well, maybe I got a coastal project that I think might work. Now's the time to learn more, because you have a little bit of time to put in a letter of intent and a pre application. But give us the give us a sort of elevator pitch, what is the coastal watershed grant program? And then I always think it's helpful to learn about how things started, I think that provides some context for what makes this a unique program or an individual program. So we sort of were digging into it. But what's the overview? And then how did it? How did it come about? How did it start? And how to restore them accessorize? Come come to beat the administrator administer of it,
Suzanne Simon 11:54
right? Yeah, that's a great question. I'm gonna I'm gonna flip the answers on you a little bit. So um, this grant program was established by Congress as a competitive fund, basically designed to help coastal areas, when they were creating this Congress also defined with a called urgent and challenging issues. And these include things like loss of habitat, harmful algal blooms, a marine mammal mortality. And there's a number of other other issues that Congress specifically called out. And so when they were authorizing and creating this program, so they kind of set this tone of this is this is what we think is important. This is what we want this program to focus on. And then they kind of went to EPA and said, Okay, here's, here's the money, here are the priorities. And then EPA, in turn, said, okay, and they turned it into a competitive process by which, by which EPA was was seeking a partner to administer the funds, and re competed for it. And we were selected to administer the programs. And and so though, those priorities are really critical to understanding that each of the RFPs, as you noted, are annual. But each of the RFPs has a slightly different set of priorities. The idea being we want to cover the most urgent and challenging issues and yet have a chance to kind of pivot through different mixes of those priorities. So it gives us a chance to focus on on certain aspects with each RFP. So for example, this set of priorities for this RFP, which we just released, are harmful algal blooms, loss of habitat and flooding and coastal erosion. So any of the projects that seek to get funding have to address one or more of those priorities for this RFP,
Derek Brockbank 13:46
just a couple small minor challenges facing our coasts, loss of habitat, flooding and coastal erosion. So fortunately, you guys have I think, $2 trillion to administer to solve those problems.
Suzanne Simon 14:03
Actually, it's higher than that. Oh, if only Yeah, so we we anticipate funding approximately a million dollars a year in, in projects,
Derek Brockbank 14:15
so million dollars a year. So it's, you know, it's and this is not in any way to to undervalue the program, but it's not a major funding source to tackle major challenges, but a million dollars can for a couple projects, you know, if you're looking at a couple projects that can really have some localized important influence. Let's talk a bit about let's maybe dive into some some of what you funded. We were talking before the call about some projects you funded last year 2020, which I believe was the first year that restore America stories administer the program. So can we you want to choose out one or two of the the programs that you funded and tell us?
Suzanne Simon 14:52
Yeah, and so a quick clarification so the projects and your to your point, in terms of the size of the projects, the size of the projects in terms of the funding is 75,000 to $250,000. So you're absolutely right in that these aren't, you know, the monster monster projects, I think there's other pots of money that do that very nicely. So as a result of the money that we were able to distribute from the last RFP. So the first one, as you noted, we had eight projects, and they are all fantastic, we had over 200 ello eyes get submitted. So we had this huge and amazing pool to choose from. And so the eight we have for the previous RFP, there's everything from eelgrass restoration, living shorelines, nutrient loading, habitat restoration, it's kind of fabulously all over the place. But uh, you know, one of the examples that I think really highlights a lot of what we were looking for, is a project out in Louisiana that was proposed by the lowlander Center, along with some other team partners, including the tribes down there. And what they are doing is some fantastic and innovative Marsh restoration work well, they'll be combining traditional ecological knowledge from the tribes along with academic approaches. They're partnering with Louisiana State University, to do Marsh restoration to protect culturally sensitive sites, in other words, sites that are really important to the tribes. And so I feel like, and not just myself, but the review team really felt that this was a fantastic project in terms of the community incorporating, you know, different types of knowledge. You know, and Louisiana is really, as you well know, Derek, it is, it's just getting hammered, you know, in terms of its its Marsh loss and other things. So, you know, it was, you know, a great project, and we were very pleased to find it.
Derek Brockbank 16:55
Yeah. And if you go, I was on the lowlander Center website, and it talks about the need and the ability of this project to help protect sacred sites. One thing that's been talked about a lot, particularly in this new incoming administration, is the need for environmental justice and equity and inclusion. And, and too often, funds don't consider some of the challenges that communities face, you know, there are math requirements, there are, you know, expectations that communities will have, you know, fully developed plans, which communities that haven't been, that have been underserved or have been marginalized, don't have that capacity. And I was wondering, this, this certainly seems like a project where you are supporting a community that has been marginalized, you know, tribes in Louisiana, some of them aren't even fully federally recognized. they've they've struggled to gain a foothold in the restaurant battle battle to save the coast. Was this something that was explicitly part of the grant program? Or was it just something that you recognize when seeing the application and deciding that that was something you needed to invest in?
Suzanne Simon 18:08
Um, it was a little bit of both in, you know, in the RFP for 2020. So the first one we specifically requested, particularly were the teams for the teams aspect. In other words, who is who's on your team, we wanted to see think the language was something like we want to see the teams reflect and meaningfully engage the communities in which they are working. You know, that that was sort of our first attempt to say, you know, we really want to see some of these areas that are being hardest hit. engage folks in a meaningful way, because I think they're there, it's easy for sometimes people to pay lip service to it. And and we really wanted to see that active engagement. And so the lowlander Center project really did that beautifully. And as to the the 2021 RFP that we just released, the diversity, inclusion, equity and justice aspect is going to be more heavily focused. I mean, there's a an out and out statement on our commitment to that. And we and we certainly want to see more of those impacts. However, with the lowlander Center, it was it was sort of a win win, because it was, it was a great project, just to start with. And, you know, it involved the tribes. And so it was it was a really great project all the way around. And, and I personally, I find it interesting as other members of the review committee that, you know, this this concept of formerly bringing in traditional ecological knowledge, combining it with academic, you know, approaches where that always hasn't been the case. You know, a lot of times, and particularly if you talk to folks who are within the tribes, they're there, you know, their traditional economic, either indigenous wreck, logical knowledge has been dismissed because it's not, it's not written down, it hasn't been proven or, you know, something like that. But yeah, when you talk to some of these elders, you know, they can say, Well, we know what's going on, sometimes better than the scientists, because we've lived here longer, you know. So it's, um, there's that aspect to it that I think is also rather critically important in terms of really honoring the, the value and their their knowledge, because they've lived in this landscape for a very, very long time.
Derek Brockbank 20:30
Thanks. And I think this is another good example of sort of what we were talking about or joking about the, you know, how this kind of grant program fits into the broader scale of coastal need, right. So coastal Louisiana has a $50 billion master plan. And this was a, you know, $250,000 project. So a little bit of a drop in the bucket when you think about the broad kind of scale of what Louisiana needs in terms of restoring its coast. But for one very specific community, this was the difference between having sacred sites protected and preserved and sacred sites going under water. So, you know, I think it's easy to get, I find it's easy to get lost in the scale of some of our coastal leads and forget, you know, the real people and places that they represent. And sometimes, you know, $250,000 project can be just absolutely essential to our community, both pivot to maybe one that's even smaller in funding, but also very important. And we were talking a bit about Buzzards Bay project, which I mistakenly thought was out on the west coast. And I found out that Buzzards Bay is in New England, so it couldn't get couldn't get further from where I was thinking it was. But talk about this one, this is a water quality one and dealing with septic system. So pretty different than restoring marshes,
Suzanne Simon 21:49
right. And that's what another one of the fun things about these these projects. And these proposals that we're getting is that they're they do kind of vary. So this is a really interesting project where it's out on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. And the idea is to look at what is coming into your not your but you know, the the coastal areas from septic systems, a lot of these areas, and not just on on Cape Cod, but you know, you've got really sandy soil and you got fairly high density. Some of these communities are fairly old, they don't have, you know, traditional wastewater treatment plants, lots of septic systems. And so the idea is to do some in situ monitoring. And this particular project uses some innovative technology that actually won a an award a previous award. In other words, technology, there was a competition that EPA held in terms of nutrient sensing. And so it just so happened that, you know, Buzzards Bay coalition is partnering with this, this group. So it's really innovative, it's groundbreaking. And the hope, then is that, you know, if there is a way to better monitor, then then you can, you know, better manage build, you know, there's a whole suite of things that come off of this in terms of what it means for managing and better designing septic systems, and therefore, really decreasing the nutrient loading that is such a problem in our coastal waters.
Derek Brockbank 23:23
Interesting. And so I take the water quality, I think you said was one of the sort of priorities for the RFP last year, as opposed to this year where we're looking at harmful algal blooms.
Suzanne Simon 23:34
Correct. So one of the ones from last year was nutrients and and how to address them. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, so this year, we're looking at harmful algal blooms, which is, in many cases, also a nutrient issue. But definitely, it manifests itself differently.
Derek Brockbank 23:48
Interesting. Well, let's so those are good projects, definitely go to the Restore America's estuaries website. It lists out all eight projects that got funded last year, ranging from the west coast to New England, and up and down both coasts, and obviously Gulf Coast too. But let's look at let's look to this year, we mentioned the timeline, the letter of intent is coming up in June 7, we've heard the the priorities, what other important dates or deadlines are coming up, or what would you What do you expect from applications this year?
Suzanne Simon 24:19
Great. Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for that, that prompt on the on the date. So for to pull out, you know, into broader picture. It's a two step process. There's a letter of intent, which is a shorter, simpler version, and then our review committee will will look at those and then do a invitation for folks to submit a full proposal, we found that this two step process, you know, kind of helps everybody use their time best and it also streamlines the process a bit. So in terms of the letters of intent, if you go to the RFP the request for proposals, which is on our site, by the way, it's estuaries, dot o RG, I don't know that we've explicitly sent that just yet. And the request for proposals, document outlines everything that you're going to need to pull together everything from, you know who your team is, what your budget is all of that good stuff. And then you will use our online submittal portal. So my recommendation is for folks to develop this in a separate document, and then you know, kind of look through what you were, what you're going to need to do. And then and then submit it through our portal by June 7. In terms of things to keep in mind, we already touched on those geographic eligibility areas that is absolutely critical, you know, the project in its entirety must occur within those polygons. And the interactive map is really quite intuitive to use, you can put in an address, you can put it in town, you know, by all means, before you start going down this road, make sure that the project you're thinking about really does occur within these geographic eligibility areas. Projects must also address one or more of the RFP priorities. We already talked about those harmful algal blooms, loss of habitat, flooding and coastal erosion. As Derek said, Yeah, no Piece of cake will solve that in a year or two. I'm totally joking. And then also, we already touched on this, but just to reiterate, any awarded project must relate to and carry out one or more of the priority actions in one of the 20, NEP management plans. And there's a little bit more to it than that. But that's sort of like the key thing to remember. Again, the idea is that we really want to be tackling those priority issues. So we're all you know, basically moving in the same path on that front. So those are those are sort of the highlights, I would encourage folks to really look through all the requirements as outlined in in the RFP document, which is available on on our website.
Derek Brockbank 26:44
Yeah, the RFP is thoroughly comprehensive. It's a nice 18 page review of everything you need to do, but also very helpful to have all the I would imagine most of your questions answered in that. There are also two upcoming webinars one coming up very shortly, on Tuesday, April 27, and one coming up Wednesday, May 5. So if this is piqued your curiosity and you want to, you know, see that webinar, I assume they'll probably be opportunities to ask questions on that to definitely tune into those again, all that information is on St. Mary's dot org. So one thing I wanted to dig into a little bit was there are different federal funding grant programs on this, you know, just on our podcast, we've had a conversation with the folks over at National Fish and Wildlife Foundation around the national coastal resilience fund, we've talked to Fish and Wildlife Service about their national coastal wetlands conservation grants. So Suzanne, what do you think, makes this grant program unique? And then how do you? How do you assess the value? I know you've only had one year of administering it, but as you as you move forward and have a couple projects completed, and under your belt, how are you going to determine whether this was successful against the goals that you set out?
Suzanne Simon 27:58
Yeah, that's a that's a lot to unpack. But let's go. So, um, the, your question is a good one in that there are these different buckets of money, if you will. So, you know, with the NIF National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, you know, I have had a number of conversations with their customer resilience, folks. And, and, you know, their approach is different, it's a much bigger scale, for the most part, higher ticket values. And, and that's fine, you know, and it's, it takes all different types of buckets of money and sizes and everything else, like we already talking about, like, you know, lowlander Center, it's, you know, in some cases, people would think it's a big ticket item. However, it does make a really big impact on on on some of the local levels. So the way the way I see this is it is just a notch. Yes, but it is another tool, and if for folks to to us, hopefully, to continue to improve and address the coastal issues that we're facing as a country. And so yeah, I would encourage folks, I mean, not how should I put this, it's it's not one size fits off, right? Each of these programs has its own focus areas, its own approaches, many of which are dictated by congressional and or agency priority. So, you know, it fits into this sort of giant web that we have of federal funding, as it relates to how we are assessing the value and in terms of how we see this, one of the things that we're looking at is sort of the standard metrics we are requesting, you know, outputs and outcomes outputs would be things like deliverables. outcomes would be, you know, the bigger picture of of how this changed things on the ground. So that sounds like very process oriented and yet it's really important, I think, because we need to be able to document you know, how we're doing The other thing, just in terms of a, you know, a penny counter, you know, it's it's a case where we also do require a match to make sure that the taxpayer dollars are being used meaningfully and well and being accounted for. And last, but certainly not least, and I think one of the things that I am excited to hear about is we really wanted to make sure that each of these projects had very strong outreach and engagement components. So and we asked for that on two levels, one was on to a lay audience. In other words, people in the community, they need to know what's happening, and they need to know where their tax dollars are going basically, and and how it's being meaningfully applied to make sure that things are improving. And then also, making sure that the tech transfer component in other words, outreach and engagement to fellow professionals or resource managers, so for example, what's being learned about nutrient abatement in septic systems in Cape Cod is, is then going to be shared, hopefully, with people maybe on the West Coast who are having a similar problem. You know, one of the things that restore America's estuaries has philosophically always been about is not recreating the wheel, you know, we really want to make sure that this information is shared, so we can collectively all learn from each other and move forward. You know, Derek, you noted, you know, jokingly, you know, easy 3 trillion right, you know, we have to make this money go as far as we can, because we don't have $3 trillion. And so we really want to make sure that that value is there on a number of different fronts.
Derek Brockbank 31:38
That's great, and I think, restore America's estuaries as well poised to do that through through your work. I mean, I think a lot of coastal community note, re through the coastal summit, the biannual every other year summit that you guys host CSOs co hosted that in the past, but it's a huge gathering of, you know, almost 1000 people, maybe over 1000 people to share information. So getting projects like these talked about, they're certainly getting project published. I think that's great to advance this also even asked me the question, I sort of realized this comes back to one of the fundamental challenges of the coast is that it is so dynamic and because it is the intersection of land and water, and, you know, by definition, estuaries are the intersection of freshwater and saltwater, it's, it's managed in multiple levels. So the projects the grant funding that I talked about, NIF whiffs, ncrf comes out of a NOAA line item budget. This we talked about is coming out of EPA, budget and then and then the Fish and Wildlife Service coastal wetlands conservation grants are coming out of Fish and Wildlife Service, which is the Department of Interior. So you've got three different agencies, all with a role in managing the coastal environment, but coming at it from slightly different perspectives. So there may be some level of overlap, but they're also looking at it from from different ones. Also, while we're talking about this one did want to make it I since I brought up the other ones, I'll make a quick plug. If you're looking to apply for the National coastal resilience fund from NIF this year, you're a little bit too late. The pre proposals were due on April 7. But the timing for the Fish and Wildlife Service coastal watershed grants program is is similar. Their pre proposals are due June 25. So so if you look into the if you look at restore America's estuaries, the coastal watershed grants and it doesn't seem like it quite fits, maybe worth taking a look at Fish and Wildlife Service, or thinking about ncrf for next year. So Well, I think we've we've covered this pretty well. Suzanne, is there anything else you'd like to share about the watershed grants program or anything I should have asked you. Anything else you want to talk about? for this?
Suzanne Simon 33:43
Well, I would love for folks listening to this to take a look and you know, if they feel that they have an effort in mind to go ahead and apply. We've been doing our best to keep the particularly the lLoY process. I won't go so far as to say it's relatively painless, because some of these processes are, you know, there's just a certain amount of information you have to pull together. But, you know, we really are trying to lower the barriers in terms of wanting a lot of different types of groups to apply. So I would say my big request is for folks to spread the word and join us on our webinars. And to get in touch with me, my email is in the RFP, if you have any questions, or if you want to run it by me to say, Hey, I'm thinking about XYZ, you know, should I should I apply? Or is this too far off base? That's absolutely fine. And I'm absolutely happily happy to welcome those sorts of emails. Well,
Derek Brockbank 34:41
thank you Suzanne, it's always a pleasure to talk to you. Um, my final question for almost all my guests, if we have time, is to ask a more personal one, which is what is your favorite beach or coastal area? A lot of us that work on the coastline are stuck behind computers most of our day. So where do you go to get rejuvenated what's the What's the coastal area that that brings you joy and happiness?
Suzanne Simon 35:03
Yeah. So I was thinking about this question. And all I could think of was like choosing my favorite child. Right? So
Derek Brockbank 35:10
do you have a favorite child?
Suzanne Simon 35:12
I only have one sees that makes it easy. So I'm the I am fortunate enough, I think much like you is that, you know, we have member groups all around the country. And I've, I was thinking about it, I've been fortunate enough to visit all of our salty state coasts with the exception of Hawaii. And so that's on my bucket list, I suppose. But if you're asking me kind of where my my heart is happy, I would have to say the main post, I went to college up there, and I just fell in love with that rocky coastline. It does have some beaches, they tend to be few and far between and very chilly to swim in. But um, yeah, it's such a it's a it's a beautiful and wild and rugged coastline. And the other thing I think I find fascinating, I realized this isn't necessarily kind of just the beauty of it. But the the way the coastal communities, particularly the islands, it fascinates me how they've chosen to manage their resources. So it's it, there's just a hell of a lot going on there, in terms of where it's beautiful and interesting. And there's all kinds of kind of fascinating resource issues
Derek Brockbank 36:24
going on. Very cool. Well, thank you so much, Suzanne, thanks for joining us, and thanks for telling us about restore America's estuaries and the coastal watershed grants program.
Suzanne Simon 36:33
Yeah, well, thanks for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.